I – we – we grew up in an environment that shaped (and still shapes) us, whether we like it or not (and whether we know it or not). It is a cultural conditioning process satirised in Monty Python’s Flying Circus as a mass production line: people – like milk bottles, coming off the end of a conveyor belt!
Growing up in the nineteen-forties and fifties, seeing these movie posters outside the theatres, I knew nothing of Italian or French or (sexy!) Swedish films, I had never known the experience of watching a (shocking!) Fellini or an Ingmar Bergman movie; never even heard of (surreal!) Cocteau, Jean Renoir or (hilarious!) Jacques Tati. French genius!I thought Hollywood was all there was.
American movies, man! And then American television! We lapped it up here in postwar Australia – rock ‘n’ roll, “see-you-later-alligator”, ‘far out” – we were “crazy mixed up kids”.
My cultural education of course broadened after that, but it was all in place before I came on the scene, (EXCEPT FOR WHAT IS, and more of that later!)
That was my milieu, that was me. What was your experience? Perhaps it was called something else, but ask yourself – wasn’t it a case of: different plot, same story?
So, I’m talking not just movie culture but family, political, scientific, educational, arts/music/poetry, religious, social, the whole shebang! Commitment to a complex raft of beliefs, laws, precepts, protocols, global, national and personal. It was total!
If that’s true, that I have known no other experience, I’m going to call it no other dream, then, until I reached the point where I had had enough suffering, I would continue believing there IS no other experience.
I gave up.
“In the midst of my life I lost my way” says Dante. A mid-life crisis (or any crisis) can provoke a profound rethink of my goals and values, making me feel as though the ground has been whipped out from under me.
That’s when I came to a point of everything seeming meaningless; I came to a dead stop. It felt like life was over, only the going through the motions was left. But it was the beginning, of waking up. That’s when the truth “Of myself I can do nothing” actually meant something.
This is where you and I can start to experience life as if two parallel realities held sway.
How lucky! How lucky we are to discover that really something else other than the-world-as-we-think!-it exists!
Sometimes, to me, everything seems strange; and I mean everything!
The feeling or characteristic of the Reality we are waking up to is non-duality, wholeness, Love, Freedom, Peace, and a feeling that I am not “of myself”! Is not this what Advaita* means?
The feeling, the characteristic of the birth-till-now, world-as-we-know-it “reality” is duality, polarity or conflict. Ego. Un-ease.
Even though this “capital-R” Reality, contrasting as it does with “small-r” reality (which most everyone else is still coming from) is intermittent, this need not worry me. I’m learning that I enjoy Singularity much, much more than the old duality perspective.
Curiosity leads me deeper into emptiness. The seeming emptiness, of letting go of the known, and moving into Singularity.
“Of myself I can do nothing”.
That puts a little smile on my face!
Look it up!